12 November 2016, Port Harcourt — Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has blamed the Federal Government for the unending sabotage of oil and gas pipelines by militants.
Wike said the Federal Government had failed to create the right environment for investment in the petroleum industry
The governor also maintained that the non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was a pointer that the country’s oil and gas sector was in crisis.
Wike disclosed his position in the keynote paper he delivered at the 2016 annual general meeting of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, United Kingdom, Nigerian branch, which held in Port Harcourt yesterday.
The governor said the oil and gas industry in Nigeria was almost exclusively regulated and controlled by the Federal Government, conferring on it the direct responsibility to ensure a receptive environment for investments in the industry.
Wike said: “The oil and gas industry is in crisis and in need of a surgical transformational operation in the nation’s interest. According to the governor, while some of the challenges are external, most of them, including the persistent failure of the Federal Government to meet its obligations on joint venture cash calls, the malignant delay in passing the Petroleum Industry Bill by the National Assembly are internal.
He added “The notorious inefficiencies of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, and the unending sabotage of oil and gas delivery pipelines by the resurgent militancy in the Niger Delta are self-inflicted.”
Wike said it was a universal norm that investors were either deterred or attracted by the prevailing investment climate in any polity.
In addition to a receptive business environment, he said investors were still more likely to invest in places where they were sure that the returns on investments were legally secure.
“With specific reference to the petroleum industry, we have taken proactive measures to protect critical national assets in the oil and gas sector. It is for this reason that Rivers State remains the only state that is largely free and insulated from the ravaging activities of militants against oil and gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta region,” he said.
Wike expressed regrets that while his administration was striving to achieve its development goals, it was worried about the state of affairs in the country, especially the lack of respect for the rule of law; the political interference in affairs of the state and the lack of effective restraints on the security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The governor said while he totally supported President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against corruption, he considered the country’s democracy and the rule of law as still supreme.
According to him, the country is on a free slide to anarchy if law enforcement agencies are allowed the latitude to abuse the fundamental rights of citizens under the guise of fighting corruption.
*Kelvin Ebiri – Guardian